ADAP â€“ Audience-Driven, Authentic Presentations â€“ is a winning formula weâ€™ve been sharing with clients for years to help them win more deals.Â While our core focus has been on elements within the presentation context, weâ€™ve been encouraging people to look for hidden social influence forces that prime audiences before you actually present.Â Recently, thereâ€™s been increased interest in studying the role of hidden forces by researchers such as Jonah Berger (Invisible Influence), Robert Cialdini did (Pre-Suasion) and Ellen Langer (Counterclockwise), all discussing studies drawing the conclusion that external, supposedly random events, can have an impact on people
For instance, Jonah Berger shares a study in which readers were given a list of words for a memory test in which adjectives (e.g., reckless, and stubborn) were included in a list of nouns (e.g., furniture, and stapler). Another group were given positive adjectives (e.g., self-confident and independent) Later, they were given a description of a person (e.g., Donald) and asked to evaluate the person. While the two activities were presented at different times, so it doesnâ€™t seem to be related, there were significant differences in how people evaluated the target person.
In another study (Bargh, Chen & Burrows), two groups of individuals were given a list of words describing older people. In one, they included stereotypical words (e.g., dependent, frail); in the other they given non-stereotypic works (e.g., independent healthy). The researchers then measured how these groups walked down a hallway â€“ and found that the former group walked more slowly!
Thus, when you walk into a presentation setting, itâ€™s critical that you pay attention to whatever prior events in some way may prime people â€“ what other experiences have they had that might somehow influence them.Â For instance, a client related how, after making it into the â€œfinal three RFP selectionâ€, he dazzled the client with an interactive workshop to show how well they could collaborate. But he lost, because, it turns out, the client was looking for â€œthought-leadershipâ€ direction. Initially the company was selected, because this is a strength, but their advocate missed the final meetingâ€¦ and the remaining people took away a different message.
In sum, winning presentations involve a process of using ADAP at each stage of planning, presentation and follow-up (because sometimes you do get a second chance!).Â Whatâ€™s your experience?Â Share it.